The weekend of the 4th provided us with some exceptional weather and people took advantage of it. There seemed to be more boating traffic over the 4th of July weekend then all of June combined.  The annual 4th of July parade on Norton Pond had one of the biggest turnouts I’ve seen, with about 24 boats, most of which were wonderfully decorated.  This past Tuesday we held our Annual meeting at Bishopswood and it was a pleasure to see all those who attended.
     During the Annual Meeting I took a few moments and spoke about some of the concerns and issues I encounter while out on patrol.  I presented these concerns to the audience with hopes that they would share them with family and friends to help “get the word out”.  Listed below are some of those concerns:
#1) Baby Loons
     It’s that time of year again where we’re starting to see baby Loons on our watershed.  We have one on Norton Pond, a pair on Megunticook River, and one on Megunticook Lake with other Loons still nesting on the Lake.  Baby Loons are just about the most adorable thing you can encounter on the Lake and because of that they are human magnets…people are drawn to them and are trying to get as close as they can to get the best picture possible.  I ask that you please show some restraint and give them a wide berth.  A baby Loon’s life is constantly in jeopardy and we certainly do not want to add to the stress in their environment.  By boat, canoe, kayak or paddleboard, if you encounter a baby Loon please give it space.
#2) Headway Speeds
     Headway speed is defined as the slowest possible speed you can operate your boat and still be able to maintain safe control.  There are multiple areas on our watershed that are clearly marked as Headway Speed Zones however, any area within 200 feet from shore is a designated Headway Speed Zone.  Every year our boats seem to get bigger and faster….please be respectful of our shore lines (to help avoid erosion), our wildlife, and our neighbors.
#3) Life Jackets
     Please make sure that you have a life jacket for every person aboard your vessel.  Children under the age of 11 years old must have their life jacket on at all times.  Anyone being towed behind a boat must have a life jacket on at all times and anyone towing someone in a boat must have a spotter that is in constant visual contact with the person being towed….that spotter must be at least 12 years of age.
     Anyone using a paddleboard must have a life jacket with them , if they are over 11 years old they do not need to wear the life jacket, it can simply be sitting on your board.  Paddleboarders without life jackets are one of the most reoccurring issues I deal with on the water.
These are just a few issues I encounter while out on patrol but they are issues that I feel are very important.  We can work together to help educate our family, friends and other watershed users.
     Cody Laite, our Assistant Lake Warden will be out on the water for the remainder of the Summer on the days that I cannot be.  If you have not had the pleasure of meeting him yet I hope you will soon.  We are excited to have him and feel he will make a great addition to our family.  If you see him out on the water, wave him over and say hello.
Lake Warden
Justin Twitchell